Bruins Beat: Bruins Continue To Win

The Bruins enjoyed a rare three-day break in their schedule, and it gives their fans a chance to reflect on their team’s impressive record of 14-2-0, and 28 points in 16 games – plus a franchise record 9-0-0 on TD Garden ice. They presently hold the first spot atop the NHL standings, two points ahead of the New Jersey Devils who are currently riding a ten-game win streak, and the Pacific Division-leading Vegas Golden Knights, coached by former Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy, and the Knights have played 17 games. Vegas despite rolling along and keeping pace with Boston, has suddenly dropped their last two games to St. Louis and San Jose. The Bruins are seven points in front of the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Atlantic Division, with the Leafs have played one more game. When it comes to individual statistics, the Bs now have 20 players who have scored at least one goal this season, with only Brandon Carlo and Anton Stralman (the latter having only appeared in 4 games), not having scored a goal. Much of the team’s success can surely be attributed to the steady performance of goaltender Linus Ullmark who now owns a record of 11-1-0, with a 1.96 goals-against-average, and a solid .936 save percentage. Add to that, the four-goals-per-game the locals have been scoring, and paired with Ullmark’s numbers, that is a sure formula for success. Last week Ullmark was named the NHL’s #2 Star of the Week, and leads the NHL goaltenders with 11 victories. A highlight to note during this exciting stretch is the data that shows Boston has mounted a +30 goal differential, having scored 65 goals and only allowed 35 in 16 games. The two teams closest in that category are the New Jersey Devils (+21) and Cassidy’s Knights (+19).

Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery has had a steady hand on his lineup, but is not afraid to switch things around. He did just that, starting with Saturday’s game with Buffalo, and to begin Sunday’s game with Vancouver, returning David Pastrnak to the first line to play with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, when things seemed to be dragging, and it paid off. Montgomery has already stated that he is aware that with success, comes the possibility of complacency and getting comfortable, he is prepared to teach his team how to get better while you are having success, an attempt to balance one with the other. The return of Jeremy Swayman to practice on Tuesday is a plus, as Montgomery expressed his desire to split the workload of Ullmark with Swayman, although there are not yet any immediate plans for Swayman to fill that role right away. Defenseman Derek Forbort has started to skate on his own, but is still a long way from returning, following his November finger surgery.

Looking back over the past 16 regular season games, many Bs fans will probably admit that this start has been a major surprise. Knowing that the team would be starting the 2022-23 schedule without Matt Grzelcyk, Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy, the main concern was whether the team could hang in there and stay close until those players returned to the lineup. Now that that question has been answered, all can look forward to celebrating a Happy Thanksgiving next week, and add the Bruins’ awesome play and their record, to the list of things to be happy for. Tonight (Thursday), the locals will attempt to extend their four-game win streak on Garden ice, and try to continue their perfect unbeaten record at home, when they host the Philadelphia Flyers (7:00pm), following with the Chicago Black Hawks on Saturday (7:00pm), and then back on the road for a pair of games – Tampa Bay Lightning (Monday, 7:00pm), and the Florida Panthers will host Boston on Wednesday at 7:00pm).

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